December 26, 2017 11:46 am
Updated: December 26, 2017 7:00 pm

Montreal man bringing back lost art of the shoe shine

WATCH: Harry Klein said he didn't know he was destined to become the premier shoe shiner in Montreal, but 15 years later, he's more than polished his craft. Global's Tim Sargeant reports.

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Harry Klein said he didn’t know he was destined to become the premier shoe shiner in Montreal.

In 2003, the entertainer was broke, down and almost out.

“I had been miserable for years. I didn’t want to go to any family parties or anything like that. I didn’t like who I had become, or not become,” Klein told Global News.

A visit to his local hair salon changed everything.

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“I heard somebody say, ‘we have everything for men. Manicure, pedicure, hair colouring, massage, the only thing we’re missing is a shoeshine boy,’ and that’s when the light went off in my head,” he said.

Now, the 67-year-old has been shining shoes for almost 15 years.

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Klein set up his shop in the lobby of 1250 René-Lévesque Blvd. Ouest in downtown Montreal.

It’s his home base, but his profession also takes him on the road.

“I’ve been flown to Europe three times to shine shoes at trade shows,” he said.

Klein’s been on retainer at the Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon law firm for over a decade.

“Harry taught me about the error of my ways and made sure I look good,” attorney Simon Rainville told Global News.

Former partner Harold Dermer brought Klein on board.

“I would stop by and have a cup of coffee, sit here and talk. Great combination. Also a nice guy,” Dermer told Global News.

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Klein said he brings his own stylish flair to his profession, something he’s been polishing for years: He’s never seen without a sports jacket, bow tie and his signature fedora.

“What I try to do is raise the bar and change the expectations that people have,” he said.

“My specialty is making guests look good, feel good and laugh.”

After 15 years of perfecting his craft, Klein said he has no plans to slow down or hang up his brushes.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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